Viewing habits and preferences of central Iowa farm operators for televised agricultural information programs

Nomeir, Said
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Agricultural Education and Studies

The purpose of the study was to identify the viewing habits and preferences of farm operators living in central counties in the state of Iowa, U.S.A., based on four weekly televised agricultural information programs (TAIP). The objectives of the study focused on demographic and background characteristics of the farm operators; their viewership potential; size of the audience; farm viewer preferences; feelings about TV as a source of agricultural information; reasons for watching (or not watching) such programs; and TV agricultural programs and TV stations' general information;The research procedure in this study involved a random multi-stage sample of 285 farm operators living in six counties in the overlapping viewing area in central Iowa;Two different mail questionnaires were developed to collect the research data: one for the four TV station program directors and one for the farm operators;Data collection took place during the period of May through August of 1980. An original and two follow-up copies from the farm operators' questionnaire for non-responders with different cover letters were sent by mail during this period. The response rate was 53.2 percent;In general, the findings were that a majority of the farm operators were over 45 years of age, had graduated from high school or beyond, were reared on farms, and had more than 22 years experience in farming. They were full time farmers who owned all or some of the land farmed and had at least 200 acres. They tended to be diversified farmers with 51 to 100 percent of their families' total net income from farming;About 45 percent of the respondents were not familiar with (or knew about but never watched) at least three of the four TAIP studied. However, about 53 percent watched at least two programs of the four at least once a month;The study indicated also that farmers' chief reason for watching the programs was for farm market reports and forecasts. The main reason respondents gave for not watching the programs was that programs were televised at inconvenient times which affected their level of viewing such programs. They suggested weekday evening scheduling of farm programs, grain and livestock market information on the programs, and more repetition of the programs as ways of improving televised agricultural programs;There were 16 null hypotheses for the study: nine of these were nonsignificant; 4 were significant; and 3--the number of TV sets farm operators have at home, years of experience in farming, and feelings about TV as a source of information at the trial stage of the adoption process--were highly or very highly significant in relation to viewing TAIP among groups of farm operators;From the results obtained in this study, a set of nine recommendations was suggested for practice and further research.